At Issue: May 16 — Legislative special sessions nearly ending but no budget deal yet
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The final days of the 2021 legislative session seem to be sputtering to a close without a budget deal — one of the most pressing issues to tackle this year — but Sunday morning, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, and House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, remained optimistic that they could come to an agreement.
Despite the optimism, the week of negotiations slowed, at least publicly, to a near-halt. It means the Legislature will more than likely have to reconvene for a special session in June, both to possibly address the emergency powers of DFL Gov. Tim Walz and to pass a multibillion-dollar budget to fund state services and programs, along with more police accountability measures. Earlier in the week, House Speaker Melissa Hortman called police accountability the "linchpin" of budget negotiations.
House DFLers were joined by a few Republicans to pass a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana, but Gazelka said there’s "no chance" the bill gets a vote in his chamber. This week on "At Issue," Winkler explained why he believes it should still be a major priority for Minnesota lawmakers.
Political analysts Brian McClung, who used to work with former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and former DFL state senator Jeff Hayden explain what the end-of-session negotiations look like — and why special sessions might not be so special anymore.